New Year’s Honours for members of equestrian community

  • Members of the equestrian and racing worlds have been recognised in the 2015 New Year’s Honours list. 

    The list, which was unveiled today (Wednesday 31 December), includes several equestrian volunteers as well as Edward Gillespie — former managing director of Cheltenham racecourse.

    Edward, 62, has been appointed an OBE for services to horseracing in Cheltenham.

    Edward stepped down in 2012 after 32 years at the Cheltenham helm and is now the chairman of the Pony Racing Authority, a sport that is growing rapidly in Britain. He is also a consultant to trainer Jonjo O’Neill.

    Edward was racecourse manager at Kempton and Sandown, as well as working at Epsom, before joining Cheltenham in 1980.

    > Angela Doughty, founder of Wilby Riding for the Disabled Trust in Northamptonshire, has been awarded an MBE.

    Mrs Doughty told H&H she was “overwhelmed and excited” by the MBE, which was for services to children with special needs through the riding for the disabled trust.

    “I’ve known since mid-November and of course we’ve had to keep quiet,” she added. “This is for my group, children and volunteers. If the award helps with fundraising for the group and awareness for what we do then that’s jolly good.”

    Mrs Doughty set up the group in 1991, and since then it has “grown wonderfully”, she said.

    “We have around 50 volunteers now and so many children and young people ride with us — we had 107 different children this year.”

    Around 50 children a week ride with the group and have a range of special needs. The group uses facilities at Moulton College.

    “They come with their schools in the week and with their parents at weekends,” added Mrs Doughty.

    There isn’t an age limit, but a weight limit on the children, at around 7st, as all the ponies are Dartmoors, homebred by Mrs Doughty.

    Wilby Advocat, Wilby Volunteer, Wilby Victoria Plum and Wilby Jock all had showing careers before working with the group.

    “The Dartmoor genetics are the best for children, they have a lovely temperament for training and readapting for led work, a few of the children are off the leading rein but I can rely on them to take the children forward as much as they can. The youngest rider we have is about two and a half and the oldest is 17, who has a growth problem.

    I feel so lucky to have been around the children, they are wonderful. It’s pretty well a full time job but it’s such a pleasure that riding make such a different to these young people and their parents.”

    > Riding instructor Valerie Allen has been awarded a British Empire Medal (BEM) for her voluntary service to rider and equine safety.

    Mrs Allen, from Radyr, Cardiff, has worked with the British Horse Society and Pony Club since the 1980s training young riders specialising in safety.

    “If I can save just one rider’s life, that will be the most important thing to me,” she told local press.

    > Patricia Dobbin was also awarded a BEM for services to Riding for the Disabled Association, Hampshire and Surrey.

    Ms Dobbin has worked with the RDA for more than 30 years.

    “You don’t do this sort of thing to get medals, you do it because the children and ponies are there and you get involved. I’m sure there are other people who deserve it too so I shall accept it on their behalf,” she told local press.

    > Louise Green of Coleraine, Northern Ireland was awarded a BEM for services to Riding for the Disabled.

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